Saturday, November 5, 2011

MOPS Field Guide

Yesterday I attended a MOPS meeting.

If you're unfamiliar, MOPS stands for "Mothers of Preschoolers", a.k.a. "The Blind Leading the Blind."

When you attend a MOPS/Blind Leading the Blind meeting, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. The Food.  Oh, the blessed food! Such a wide array of egg-based casseroles and breakfast breads, intermingling with bananas and luscious grapes! At the MOPS food table I eat well and visit often.

And then the day came when I was asked to provide a dish. {cue spooky music}

Suffice to say a mother with small children trying to present a hashbrown casserole ends with a mad dash to the Cracker Barrel and deep sense of shame for this mom of three.

2. The Crafts. I can make a Tooth Fairy Pillow or ice pack bunny with the best of them but it begs the question: when you have a group of people averaging less than four hours of continuous sleep per night, why would you equip them with sharp-pointed needles, hot glue guns or non-blunted scissors?

That's a recipe for a gal going postal, my friends. Madness and Mayhem at MOPS!... the news story practically writes itself!

3. The Company. I've attended MOPS meetings in two states, different regions of the country. (Yep, that's because I just keep producing children. Those preschool years s t r e t c h  the more children you have!) My experience with these groups tells me there are three types of MOPS attendees:

First Type: In each group there were the gals who looked fully put together, makeup done, bodies taut from many post-partum work out hours, full of conversations about how they just had their two year old playing Schubert Concertos on the piano for their husband's work friends.

I eye those women with deep suspicion.

Second Type: There are the other moms, the ones with bed head and bad breath, sweatshirt wearing, snot-on-the-shoulder-sporting paragons of motherly virtue. These are the women who are so sleep-deprived they have to think long and hard before answering hard questions like, "What's your name?" and "How many children do you have?"

Handle these gals with care. An offhand comment about potty training could send them over the edge of sanity and cause a floodgate of tears.

Third Type: Here you find the moms with a level head... these are the moms who realize motherhood isn't glamorous but occasionally you find the glamor and hold onto it with both hands. These women probably haven't showered in a few days but managed to put on clean underwear before leaving the house. They come to MOPS to get a short break from full-time childcare, meet other moms in the area, and not have to make breakfast.

These moms realize the fundamental freedom of MOPS: with so many women wandering around recently post-partum and currently pregnant, no one needs to suck their tummy in unless they want to!

That's my take on MOPS - what's yours?

Juggler blogs daily about life, college, and parenting at Stealing Faith. She is the mother of three girls birthed in four years and considers it a major accomplishment when she leaves the house clean and clothed.

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